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Alice M. Harkin Nursing Scholarship Fund
By Jean Cohoon / March 23, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
The late Alice Harkin graduated near the top of her class (Class of 1936) at B.M.C. Durfee High School in her native Fall River. “She was very smart and was determined to continue her education,” shares her daughter Kathy MacLean.

But Alice’s family could not afford to pay for her education, so Alice went to work after high school to save money to pay for her schooling. She later enrolled at the Union Hospital School of Nursing (the nursing school closed many years ago; the hospital now is Charlton Memorial), although her family believes that because of her interest in science, Alice’s dream was to go to college, major in chemistry, and ultimately become a doctor.

After graduating in 1940, Alice worked for many years as a registered nurse in Union Hospital’s “accident room” (now called the emergency room). Kathy shares that her brother, who worked as an orderly in the accident room, told her that doctors often would request that Alice assist them and that she was highly regarded by her hospital colleagues.

Alice later worked for 26 years as a public health nurse in the Fall River School Department, retiring in 1994 at age 76. “The only reason she retired was because she had to have knee replacement surgery. She didn’t want to have to take sick time, so she retired,” Kathy explains, continuing, “I think she missed nursing after she retired, but then she got involved in volunteering by reading to kindergarteners, at Hospice, at the Rose Lathrop Cancer Home, and at the Shepherd’s Center in Fall River.”

Alice also was active in the Union Hospital Nurses Alumni Association, serving for many years as the group’s treasurer.

“Education was huge to her. That was her mantra: education is everything. She always said that all of her kids were going to college,” Kathy recalls.

Kathy and her husband, Brian, established this nursing scholarship fund, designated for Bristol Community College, to “do something meaningful” to honor her mother who died in 2014 at age 95. A fitting tribute for a woman who believed, “Education is everything.”
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